The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan's epic conclusion to the Batman franchise, won't be released until midnight Thursday, but that hasn't stopped the film from earning millions of dollars already. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the superhero film has already earned at least $25 million in advance sales.
With numbers like that, The Dark Knight Rises is fully expected to win the weekend box office and possibly even overthrow previous records and become the best opening ever for a 2D film. Early estimates from unnamed Hollywood Reporter sources suggest that the film could earn between $185 million and $195 million.
According to the paper, Warner Bros. is expecting an opening of at least $170 million. Either way, the final piece of the trilogy should have no problem beating The Dark Knight's opening weekend take of $158 million. And while it may surpass Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows: Part 2's opening of $169 million, The Dark Knight Rises will have a hard time knocking The Avengers off its throne. The Joss Whedon-directed superhero get-together took in $207 million its opening weekend.
Other blockbuster movies this summer have taken in huge amounts of money, with The Avengers raking in more than $1 billion, and as much as $18.7 million at midnight showings. The Avengers, however, had the benefit of being released in 3D, helping boost its income.
The Dark Knight Rises is being released entirely in 2D at Christopher Nolan's behest. While that may hurt sales numbers some, the film is also being given the widest IMAX release in history, with 330 theaters. More than an hour of the film was shot in the IMAX format.
The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway. Liam Neeson is expected to make a short appearance as well. The film opens Thursday night at midnight.